Tag: Fairytale

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett

Posted June 1, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly Book 3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Dec 3, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 199
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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Meeting the parents can be deadly

Tessa Daniels finally has it all figured out. Her magic shop is booming, and she’s found love with the lead Detective of the Royal Agency, Derrick Chambers. Sure, her magic’s still a little faulty, but she hasn’t turned anyone into a mouse or started a plague in ages, and her mixed up spells are all part of her charm.

Until Derrick takes her home to the countryside to meet his parents.

He promises a romantic holiday, but the cozy escape is plagued with strange accidents, mysterious guests, and exposed secrets. Tessa is convinced there’s a mystery to solve, and when a snowstorm strands everyone inside the manor, they discover they’re trapped with a killer.

First one murder.

Then two.

It was supposed to be the perfect fairy tale ending, but meeting the parents may end up costing Tessa her life.

Stranded and Spellbound (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #3) by Jenna Collett returns to Garrett and Tessa, the couple from book 1, Spellbound After Midnight. I remember finishing that book with a happy sigh because the story was just what I was in the mood for at that time, but upon further reflection it didn’t hold up very well. Tessa made a lot of questionable decisions, and her insecurities really got old after awhile. So it was with some trepidation that I went into this novel.

Garrett is taking Tessa home for the holidays to meet his aristocratic family. She’s nervous as can be, because she’s intimidated by their wealth and because she wants them to like her. There doesn’t seem much chance of that happening, however. When they arrive it’s to discover Garrett’s mother has already arranged an engagement for him to Snow white, and invited her there to plan the wedding. This despite the fact that Garrett told them he was bringing Tessa home. He wants to leave, but Tessa is determined to stay and win them over.

I only read about 25% of this book before I set it aside. Tessa didn’t endear herself to me. She was so anxious to make everyone like her that she let herself be treated like crap. Plus, her incompetence didn’t come off as sweet and funny, so much as annoying and cringe-worthy.(She wants his very wealthy family to like her so she bakes them a pie using magic, but oops, she sucks at magic so the pie turned out horrible, but she still brought it anyway? WTF?)

I’m not interested in the way his mother treated Tessa, and I don’t want to read about how she “wins them over.” I don’t really think they can come back from “I invited another woman here and I’m planning her wedding to my son while you’re standing right there”.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be in the mood for it some other time, but I doubt it. The rest of the series is wonderful, however, so don’t let this review deter you from reading it.

Rating: DNF (1 out of 5 for what I did read)

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly


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Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Posted April 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow RowellReviewer: Holly
The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Series: Faraway #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Narrated
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale
Length: 46 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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Series Rating: three-stars

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 'New York Times' bestselling author of 'Eleanor & Park' and the 'Simon Snow' series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s a fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

'THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL' is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened and frightened all over again.

This was a well-written short story that really seemed to serve no purpose. I enjoyed how the friendship between Adam and the Bridge Troll developed, and there was a lot of witty dialogue, but the story lacked any kind of cohesion or conclusion. The Road (aka Climate Change and Development) were bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it so let’s just wait until the rains come and wash it all away? Meh.

For a quick listen, I didn’t hate it, but I did finish it kind of scratching my head about the point of it all.

Rating: 3 out of 5



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Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, Kiss of the Spindle
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Fairytale
Pages: 368
Length: 9 hours and 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.   Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is the third book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series, which is a mesh of fairytale and steampunk. I call these books “Steampunk Lite”. Though there are Steampunk elements, they’re very lightly drawn. We first meet Hazel and Sam in book one, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. Although not necessary to read in order, I do believe you understand more about them and their motivations if you read the other books first.

Hazel Hughes comes from a long line of Mediums. Her mother is convinced she has the same power, but her first real attempt to summon spirits ends in a complete disaster (Beauty and the Clockwork Beast). Now she works as Sam’s surgery assistant. She’s had a crush on him for ages, but they run in different social circles and she knows they can never be. When a mysterious man turns up and claims to be her uncle, she’s shocked. Even more so when he tells her she was actually abducted at birth, and she has a twin sister who is slowly going mad. The Count believes Hazel may be the key to saving her twin. She agrees to travel to Romania with him to help her sister, and Sam joins them. As they travel in a submersible, strange things happen that make her question everything..her uncle, her sister and her relationship with Sam.

I was very interested in Hazel and Sam after the previous two books. In keeping with the series, this is a Rapunzel retelling. Though the fairytale elements were light, I enjoyed it. Hazel’s journey across the ocean, as well as her personal journey, was fun and interesting. I did struggle a bit with the book in the middle, as it was rather slow. But the early parts and last quarter or so really worked for me.

Nancy Campbell Allen was a great find for me this year. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance


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Review: Ariana by Ash Dylan

Posted March 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ariana by Ash DylanReviewer: Holly
Ariana by Ash Dylan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 132
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Princess Ariana, stuck in a tower for fifteen years, can only inherit her kingdom if she cuts her hair and marries. She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.

Devin, a warrior king from a neighboring country, thinks he has what it takes to woo the princess. Though he has enjoyed a no-strings-attached relationship with his bodyguard, Devin wants to move on, worried that his deeper affection is not reciprocated.

But Tan, the king’s loyal bodyguard, has kept his true feelings a secret and will do anything to protect his love from a deadly princess. He lost another loved one fifteen years earlier, and he refuses to let the same fate befall his king.

When Devin and Tan spend a night in Ariana’s tower, they realize an unlikely arrangement could lead to them living happily ever after. But first, Ariana needs to learn to trust them. And Devin and Tan need to make it through the night alive.

This polyamorous MMF novella, set in a post-apocalyptic America, has 30,000 words, an unapologetic heroine, two bisexual heroes, three HEA’s, and several happy endings.

I saw a friend talking about this on Twitter and knew it was the book for me when I read “She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.” in the blurb. Yassss.

I loved the concept of a tough, kickass Princess heroine who refused to humiliate herself for anyone. For 15 years she’s lived in a tower for the good of her people, and though that chafed, she didn’t resent them for it. I don’t know that I bought into Devin as a warrior, but that’s probably because we were told he was more than shown.

The MMF relationship worked for me and I enjoyed the main characters. There were some flaws with the world-building (namely that there wasn’t enough of it to truly give this a post-apocalyptic feel), but I really liked the way the story developed and the romance between the three. The BIG CONFLICT was predictable and didn’t do a lot for me, nor did the final resolution, but overall I rather enjoyed the way the story came together.

I’m looking forward to the next novella, which looks to be a FFM.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

I believe this is the start of a series, but I can’t find any additional information about it on the author’s website, Amazon or Goodreads.


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